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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: June 2019

10 - The Wispact Trusts: Making a Difference in a Means-Tested Support System

from Part III - Special Needs Trust


Section I of this chapter provides basic background on Wisconsin’s versions of the major national public benefit programmes that, in large part, dictate the structure and function of the Wispact trusts, the form of distributions, and the level of control that can be given to beneficiaries. Section II provides basic information on the two Wispact trusts, and the division of responsibility between the entities that manage the trusts. Sectiont III provides a picture of the role played by US-SNTs in general, and the particular roles envisioned for the Wispact trusts by the people who worked to create them. Sections IV and V describe eligibility to be a Wispact beneficiary and the process for creation and funding of an individual account. Section VI describes Wispact’s distribution policies, respect for the voice of the beneficiary and methods for working within SSI and Medicaid income-counting rules. Section VII addresses Wispact’s efforts to make smaller accounts affordable, and the uses of Wispact’s charitable Retained Fund. Section VIII is a brief discussion of US income tax issues and expenses faced by Wispact accounts. Section IX contains comments of the author on the relevance of Wispact’s experience to a basic-support trust like the one being envisioned for Hong Kong, and on how Wispact does, or does not, promote the human rights of its beneficiaries.